Elation over your newly discovered pregnancy can quickly turn to panic and despair if you find out it’s ectopic.
Ectopic pregnancy, when the fertilised egg implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes, occurs in one to two in every 100 pregnancies and can be dangerous if left untreated.
While this pregnancy complication can be picked up with a scan, it’s better treated when it’s caught early. So what are the signs of ectopic pregnancy to feel for?
Sydney-based fertility expert at Demeter Fertility, Dr Sonya Jessup, explains that a common sign of ectopic pregnancy is pain – normally localised to one side of your abdomen.
“It’s more sharp pain and it’s moderately severe – it’s not like a period cramp type of pain,” Dr Jessup says.
She warns that if you experience intense pain the fallopian tube may have ruptured, causing internal bleeding. In this case, you should call Triple 0 or make your way to emergency immediately.
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Not all ectopic pregnancies will result in bleeding, Dr Jessup says, but if you do experience bleeding while pregnant this could be a sign of ectopic pregnancy.
“Somebody who is miscarrying will quite often have some bleeding, followed by pain. If you’ve got an ectopic pregnancy you’re more likely to have bleeding, followed by pain,” she explains.
The fertility specialist and obstetrician-gynecologist says symptoms will normally start being felt around week six of your pregnancy.
Shoulder tip pain
“If you’re bleeding into the pelvis and then you lie down that blood tracks up to under the diaphragm that sends referred pain normally to your right shoulder,” Dr Jessup says.
Referred pain is pain felt in another area of the body that is not the source.
“If you’ve got shoulder pain and you know you’re pregnant you need to go to an emergency department immediately.”